Walton, a Staffordshire Man, first published his Compleat Angler in 1653, hence the unfamiliar spellings. An experienced and keen angler ‘Piscator’, walking out of London, falls in with a man who wanted to learn to fish, who by this point in the book is called the Scholer because he’s an enthusiastic learner. Much of their dialogue takes place under trees, sheltering from the rain. And it leads to other thoughts and the contemplation of creation. What would Walton have made of our sewage infested rivers?
“And now, Scholer … it has done raining, and now look about you, and see how pleasantly that Meadow looks, nay and the earth smels as sweetly too. Come let me tell you what holy Mr. Herbert saies of such dayes and Flowers as these, and then we will thank God that we enjoy them, and walk to the River and sit down quietly and try to catch the other brace of Trouts.
Sweet day, so cool, so calm, so bright, The bridal of the earth and skie, Sweet dews shal weep thy fall to night, for thou must die. Sweet Rose, whose hew angry and brave Bids the rash gazer wipe his eye, Thy root is ever in its grave, and thou must die. Sweet Spring, ful of sweet days & roses, A box where sweets compacted lie; Musick shewes you have your closes, and all must die. Only a sweet and vertuous soul, Like seasoned timber never gives, But when the whole world turns to cole, then chiefly lives.
(from “The Complete Angler 1653” by Izaak Walton)